Posts Tagged ‘Comedy’

Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers and Harry Secombe record cover? (aka The Goons and also available in ‘vinyl’) – do you have this or other collectible albums stashed in your loft?

Escape from the War!

The ’50s witnessed the blossoming of British creative talent leading into the ’60s

Following the narrowest of escapes many years later, even after Dunkirk*,  like the Goons, our intrepid editor is delighted to report that all appears to be well, following a successul rear guard action – his mad antics will be described later – stay tuned  🙂

 

The Goons featuring

Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers, Michael Bentine and Harry Secombe

–  the other fabulous foursome!

First there came Spike Milligan

* Following the media repression and misery of the war years, they burst out from the constraints of authoritarian wartime Britain into Radio like a un-coiling spring, as an outrageously funny irreverent foursome to poke fun at the ‘wooden’ establishment that had held them in check for so long!

Although a jazz vocalist-turned-entertainer of the troups during wartime Britain, Spike Milligan could be considered as the lyrical / satyrical / anti-war / anti-authority ‘John Lennon’ founder of this particular fabulous foursome, along with co-writers Larry Stephens and Eric Sykes. Spike wrote and performed comedy sketches as part of concerts to entertain troops during the war years as a signaller in the Royal Artillery 56th. Armoured Division. Hmmm.. dad must have known of him as a member of a similar Division. The editor also remembers reading one of his amazing books  quite early on – which together with Waugh’s Scoop and Voltaire’s Candide probably didn’t do him much good either, speaking as a ‘sensible citizen‘ of questionable sensibilities, that is  🙂

Peter Sellers and Ian Carmichael as sensible citizens, tongue in cheek, in “I’m Alright Jack” – another hilarious attempt of the social classes to return to civilian life in post-war, re-uniting Britain! The whole nation’s returning soldiers appeared to be suffering from a form of collective PTSD – for which manic humour and a liberal measure of ‘for God’s sake pull yourself together man’ were prescribed! Hence – ‘I’m OK, you’re OK, we’re OK’; I’m alright, We’re alright, You’re alright, Jack?

Note: this clip doesn’t do the film justice – watch the whole film to get the full comedy including the ‘you’re not the detergent type’ Ian Carmichael clip – and Peter Sellers as the union shop steward! Sellers went to work on the character and role of “Fred Kite” with all the obsessive and meticulous attention to nuance and detail he lavished on Dr. Stragelove! When the social classes eventually and inevitably collided as Carmichael dated his pretty daughter in the spirt of the times (the new progressive and socially-mobile ‘swinging’ ’60s), ‘war’ threatened to break back-out again, but it was held in masterful restraint as ‘preventative internecine warefare countermeasures’ by union man Sellers in his hysterically funny portrayal!

Each to their own: Fred Kite – father and union man

The role of ‘sensible citizen’ as “reluctant comedian” in The Goon Show (as in real life) was played by ex. RAF intelligence officer Michael Bentine

On the editor’s young adult reading list

Serious dutiful absentee citizen Bentine (above) – then along came  Harry Secombe and Peter Sellers (below)

The editor particularly remembers the radio dialogues between Sellers, Secombe aka ‘Neddie Seagoon’ and Milligan!

The Goons was first broadcast on the BBC Home Service in 1951

 

Nick  🙂

Europe and “The Meaning of Life”

Stay or leave: it’s up to us to make up our own minds between now and the 23rd. June!

one of the Editor’s favourite Monty Python sketches .. nudge nudge .. it’s about ‘leaving’ 😉

continued ..

Satire: sailing over the horizon: a step too far?

read on ..

 

Nick 🙂

Benny Hill’s humour:

too non-PC Today?

Best of Benny Hill Sketches – in a re-work

Bring back British Humour – bring back softer southern comedy!

What might Benny have done if he were amongst us today?

Comedy Script

The bucolic gardener, lurking in the grounds of an Edwardian Country House where ‘30s “Who-dun-it” meets ‘70s “To the manor born” set in the slightly dysfunctional and out-dated comedy sit-com genre, is invited in for an impromptu’ meal in appreciation for his work by husband and wife gentry.

Benny is lurking furtively in the undergrowth, tending a Venus statue whilst keeping a watchful eye on female staff passing by.

Husband: Ah there you are! Thank you so much my dear friend for mowing the lawn and come in for a meal!

Wife, interjecting: and thank you so terribly much for keeping our hedges and r-rhododendrons down – absolutely super job old chap – do come in and sit down!

Benny sits down at the table, tucks serviette into his neck and remains taciturn and motionless, overwhelmed

The meal is served ..

Waitress serves up a ploughman’s lunch, bending over to reveal all in expected revealing attire

Benny’s eyes swivel above his thick glasses

Husband: do tuck in!

Benny mutters to camera, eyes swivelling and ogling: “Tuck in? How are ‘they’ possibly supposed to tuck in?”

Wife repeats: I insist – thank you so much for lending a hand – do tuck in!

Benny takes the initiative and lends a hand ..

Wife, continuing, attempting to break the ice – unaware of Benny’s behind the table initiative: “They say there’s no such thing as the working classes nowadays you know!”

Waitress then exclaims; shocked in a low voice, whaling to camera to camera: “No, Warlocks! Warlocks!”

Husband, thinking it was Benny: “Ah I see, then you really did mean more than one – a coven of male witches”?

Waitress: Loads of warlocks please!

Benny; deliberating: “Definitely not the warlocks!”

Wife interrupting: Hmmm – that’ll make things interesting – do you think having more education could help? – I know; we could have a Warnock committee!

Benny smirking to camera: – “to keep a breast of a hard situation”

Husband, interjecting: “No: Seeing things in the round; The Warnocks”?

Wife: No; teams of Warnocks!

Benny, breaking into a smile; “No … loads of, witches”

Husband: Oh, no, covens, I insist!

Waitress: Oh, warlocks!

Camera pans back and the servants all appear in a line gradually: Benny gets up to run out to escape the waitress rounding on him, followed closely by the husband and wife ..

The chase ensues out of the house, gathering momentum, into the grounds: the theme music starting up: waitresses, witches and warlocks as the servants and guests of the house all gradually divesting themselves of their robes to underwear as they walk out into the garden, breaking into a run, followed by the Warnocks waving their paper scripts as reports!

 

Footnotes

Benny Hill’s “Warlocks sketch” became famous and it was time for a remake!

Watching “Murdered to Death” whodunit presented by the Brough Petuaria Players at Darby & Joan Hall in Cottingham a few years ago gave the editor encouragement to try scriptwriting,

A long dining table makes communication a little difficult hence the wife who isn’t necessarily hard of hearing misreads the situation creating scope for a comedy.

 

(c) Nicholas Robinson, 5th. February 2015